Australians have had a long battle coming to terms with difference. I have been thinking about peace…not the peace that occurs in non-war zones, but the peace that comes from within and towards each other. I’d like to refer to the recent Invictus Games, held in Sydney, Australia.
Each competitor had incurred physical and mental injuries as part of their role in a zone of conflict. These people have reason to be stained with negative feelings, with disappointment of being robbed of a usual life, with difficulty in connecting with others.
What I saw in the media and on television was celebration of their achievements, compassion and love for their fellow competitors and a fierce national pride at representing their country in their chosen sport, if not in conflict for their country. We often neglect to recognise those who fought to save our freedom, but somehow sport gives us the opportunity to cheer, to wonder at achievement, to honour those same men and women.
An unconditional acceptance of the uniqueness of all people is fundamental to living in harmony with others. The Invictus Games gives us the opportunity to reflect on the sacrifices made on our behalf by the courageous human beings who have found some peace within themselves. Their differences in ability have been overshadowed by their determination and effort to challenge stereotypical attitudes to people with disability.
It seems that until we know who we are and can cope with the fact that individuals have differences in ability we will wallow in a shallow existence with the people we live with. Peace reigns with acceptance of each other.
Marilyn can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
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